Romanesco Macaroni Cheese; the ultimate comfort food

This dish was inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe, but somewhat different. It’s comforting and warming properties are perfect for these cooler days. I used the romanesco (broccoli or cauliflower, depends what country you’re in I believe) instead of the regular cauliflower variety used in Jamie’s recipe. The Romanesco is a sweet and nutty vegetable and adds plenty of flavour to an otherwise boring (albeit comforting) macaroni cheese. ¬†Mine is vegie, but of course you could add ham or pancetta or something similar.

cauliflower macaroni cheese

Romanesco macaroni cheese

Ingredients:

500g macaroni

5Acre garlic (2 cloves chopped finely or crushed)

5Acre romanesco cauliflower (the whole thing!)

strong cheddar cheese grated (a good full cup or so)

bread crumbs

rosemary

salt and pepper

pinch of nutmeg

butter, flour and milk for a cheese sauce.

Firstly heat your oven of course. Boil a big pot of salted water. Trim and quarter the romanesco and put in the boiling water (stem down) and add your macaroni. Boil until pasta is al dente and reserve some pasta water for the dish (a good mug full). Drain both. Meanwhile make your roux and then make a white sauce adding cheddar cheese, the garlic and the pinch of nutmeg. Season to taste. Whizz up stale bread into crumbs with a little salt and fresh rosemary.

Pour the pasta and romanesco into a large baking dish. Gently break up the romanesco with a potato masher or tongs until mixed through the pasta. Keeping bite sized pieces of the romanesco. Stir through your cheese sauce and add enough of the reserved pasta water to make it more slippery and smooth and thinner. It will thicken on baking. Top with the bread crumbs and bake until browned and bubbling. Top with some grated parmesan if you wish.

What are you doing with your lovely 5Acre romanesco? or pumpkin? or courgettes? or capsicums? write to Mia at 5acrefarmblog(at)gmail<dot>com. It doesn’t have to be gourmet, but something you cook on a regular basis? Something in your repertoire?

Enjoy your 5Acre Farm vegies, see you soon! ūüôā

 

 

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Rice noodle stir-fry

This is one of my go to meals when I am scrounging up left over vegetables in the fridge, chop it all up, stir-fry it, add a brilliant sauce and add lots of thin rice noodles. Grab your chopsticks, this is the best noodle dish!

My vegetable ingredients are always different, just throw in what you like to stir fry. I’ll list what I used last week to give you an idea. The sauce is always the same though. I buy thin rice noodles (a bit thicker than vermicelli, but you can use what ever tickles your fancy; thick rice, hokkien etc).

Stir fry noodles

Mia’s stir fry noodles

Okay, so where do I start….(I’ve underlined the ingredients to make it easier).

The vegetables:

5Acre  carrot (3 small ones sliced)

5Acra spring onions (about 4-5) chopped

5Acre spring cabbage leaves (about 6 roughly chopped)

5Acre garlic (crushed or chopped thrown in with the veg)

5Acre brown onion (1 sliced thinly)

Red cabbage (about a quarter, thinly sliced)

Red pepper (1 sliced into strips)

Broccoli (chopped roughly)

Big hunk of ginger (chopped finely or grated) (I love ginger so I use a lot)

Chilli powder to taste

Chop them all comparatively equal in terms of cooking time and throw them all into one big bowl ready to be stir fried (set aside while you make your sauce)

Next…the sauce

In a small bowl add the following:

About 1/2 cup soy sauce (for saltiness)

2 tbs kecap manis or sweet soy (for sweetness and saltiness)

Juice of one lime (for sourness)

2 tbs tamarind puree (sweet sour and little bitter)

a dash of sweet chilli for sweetness

Stir vigorously and taste. Add more of any of the sauce ingredients if you think it needs it. Maybe it’s too sweet, add some more soy etc.

Now that you’re all set, boil some water and get your noodles on the go. Because it’s a noodle dish I like to use:

2 big packs of dried thin rice noodles.

You have to be careful not to overcook them so check frequently. As soon as they’re cooked al dente, drain and rinse under cold water to prevent them going sticky and lumpy. You can heat them under hot tap water when you need to add them to your stir fry.

Heat a wok on high heat, add a little oil and when it’s cracking, throw in all your vegetables with the garlic, chilli and ginger. Add a couple of tablespoons of the sauce to the vegetables as they cook. I like my vegetable crunchy, so you don’t need to cook for long. Toss the veg all about, cooking them evenly. When the veg are cooked to your liking, push them to the side of the wok. Scramble:

One or two eggs

in a bowl and scramble them in the wok next to the veg. When it’s cooked, heat your noodles, then add them to the wok, followed by the sauce and toss to coat (I find it easiest to use 2 spatulas). In the last moment, stir through some:

Freshly chopped coriander.

It sounds very time consuming, but I assure it’s not. Once you’ve prepared everything, it only takes minutes to cook :).

I love this midweek, eating a big bowl of tasty and healthy noodles on the couch with my beloved chop sticks.

Cooking the egg in the stir fry

Cooking the egg in the stir fry

Purple sprouting broccoli and chickpeas

from 5 Acre Farm

Purple sprouting broccoli from 5 Acre Farm

How delicious is purple sprouting broccoli?! I love it. This stir fry is super simple, tasty and healthy. Eat it as a side dish or as a light meal or yummy lunch.

Copious amounts of 5Acre Farm garlic, chopped

Oil

Chilli powder or chopped dried or fresh chillies from 5Acre Farm

Can or carton of drained chickpeas

Roughly chopped 5Acre purple sprouting broccoli

Stir fry all together and serve straight away steaming hot. Yummo.

What do you do with your sprouting broccoli? Send in a photo and a recipe to 5acrefarmblog(at)gmail(dot)com